Australia: A big step towards certainty about climate change risk for Queensland councils and developers

Focus: Queensland Government changes to State's coastal hazard area mapping
Services: Insurance, Property & Projects
Industry Focus: Insurance, Property

The Queensland Government made changes this week to the State's coastal hazard area mapping which have positive implications for developers and landholders in the State's coastal areas. In this article we will provide details of this change, highlight what the impacts might be, and what this means for your business.

John Lane, Director of the Environmental Planning with the Queensland State Department of Environment and Heritage Protection confirms,

"Apart from implementing the government's election commitment consideration of long term sea level rise, the revised coastal hazard mapping enhances the capacity of councils to confidently make planning and development decisions. It provides certainty to councils and others involved in land use planning and development."

The changes, which took effect from 8 July 2015, re-introduce factors to accommodate the projected effects of climate change in declared 'erosion prone areas' across all coastal local government areas. The declared areas are those considered to be vulnerable to coastal erosion and tidal inundation as a result of climate change to 2100.

The changes reflect measures controversially introduced in the 2012 Queensland Coastal Plan but later abandoned by the Newman LNP Government. The changes are the first stage of reinstating climate change measures into the planning and development assessment process, with further changes anticipated later in the year.

The risk posed by climate change to coastal areas

One of the predicted impacts of climate change is sea-level rise. Projections about the rate of the rise have been subject to revision in the last several years. Although the rate is dependent on what measures are taken to reduce emissions and decrease concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere, there is a general consensus that the sea-level rise may be of a greater magnitude than initially expected with an upper range of 1 metre.

Consequently, coastal areas are likely to become vulnerable to risks associated with rising sea levels such as erosion, more frequent and severe storm tide events and more frequent or even permanent tidal inundation. With those risks, come direct impacts on development, buildings and infrastructure in those areas and flow on effects through indirect impacts, such as insurance or legal risk, on the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the State.

A cavalcade of regulation

The last several years have seen a cavalcade of governmental responses to the threats climate change presents to development in the coastal areas of Queensland.

In 2011, the Bligh Labor Government released a draft coastal plan imposing stringent restrictions on development in coastal areas which attracted extensive criticism from the development industry. Some aspects of the plan were revised after stakeholder consultation, however, when it took effect in February 2012, the Queensland Coastal Plan (QCP) imposed controls to ensure that development in coastal zones was planned, located, designed, constructed and operated taking into account the projected effects of climate change. The QCP adopted a sea-level rise factor of 0.8 metres and a 10% increase in cyclone intensity by 2100.

Following the March 2012 State election, the Newman LNP government sought to 'roll back' the regulatory scheme expressed in the QCP. In October 2012, the QCP was suspended and was at first replaced by Draft Coastal Protection State Planning Regulatory Provision (the regulatory provision). The regulatory provision retained some aspects of the QCP for example the mapping based on the 0.8 metre sea-level rise to identify coastal hazard areas, but considerably weakened restrictions on development in those areas.

Ultimately in December 2013, the Government released the State Planning Policy (the SPP), further amending it in July 2014 (particularly in relation to coastal hazards). The SPP omitted reference to climate change and sea-level rise and in essence left local governments somewhat in limbo, requiring councils themselves to identify natural hazard areas and make provisions to achieve an acceptable or tolerable level of risk to through their planning schemes.

New line in the sand for coastal hazard mapping

It would, however, be wrong to think the changes to the coastal hazard mapping adopted by the Palaszczuk Labor government this week represent a return to the pre-SPP days. They are not. Instead, they are a step forward towards providing much needed certainty for the development industry and land use planners.

The declared erosion prone areas and storm tide inundation affected areas are based on a sea-level rise factor of 0.8 metres and incorporate the area of the coast considered to be vulnerable to coastal erosion and tidal inundation based on:

  • a short-term erosion component from extreme storm events
  • a long-term erosion component where gradual erosion is occurring commonly from channel migration or a sediment supply deficit
  • a dune scarp component, where slumping of the scarp face occurs following erosion
  • erosion risk due to future sea level rise from climate change both by permanent inundation of land by tidal water and the morphological response of the coast to elevated water level
  • a 40% safety factor.

The revised mapping applies to all coastal local government areas.

The mapping will be used in the development assessment process and to inform decision-making and the preparation of planning schemes and regional plans which regulate land use.

What the changes mean for you

The changes to the coastal hazard area mapping have the potential to better inform those with interests in coastal areas, including local governments and developers, about which of those areas are most vulnerable to the climate change risks presented by sea-level rises. As a consequence, interested parties have the opportunity to better plan the distribution, intensification and, in some cases, relocation of future development and infrastructure to avoid those risks and their potential economic, legal and social ramifications.

The impact of these changes on particular land owners within the declared erosion prone areas will vary according to the current or planned future use of the land holding. It will also depend upon the current Government's intention regarding future revisions to the regulation of development in coastal areas, as this week's changes are just the first stage in a proposed overhaul of the applicable laws.

Further details can be accessed from the Departments website here. Professional advice should be obtained as to how developers, landholders, councils and other stakeholders are affected by the changes.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.